The Oldie Literary Lunches have become a venerable institution on the London literary scene since they were first launched in 1996. Held monthly at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, the lunches feature three speakers who each address the audience for ten minutes. A delicious three-course lunch with wine accompanies the talks.

To book tickets call Katherine or Jenny on 01225 42 73 11 between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday. 

Tickets cost £62


Click here to listen in on our previous lunches


Upcoming Lunches



8th December


Sir Jonathan Miller on On Further Reflection 

Jonathan Miller’s careers are as multifarious as his writing topics. His new book encompasses his journalism of the past sixty years, spanning everything from mesmerism to neurology, film and theatre to art history and parody and wit to reportage.

Sir Ian Kershaw on To Hell and Back

Ian Kershaw is regarded by many as one of the world’s leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. His latest work focuses on the effects and consequences faced by Europe when it was plunged into two disastrous World Wars, which tore apart the continent’s politics, beliefs and humanity.

Tom Holland on Dynasty, The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar

Classicist and historian Tom Holland’s books include Persian Fire and Rubicon, of which Dynasty is the prequel. It provides an exuberant portrait of Rome’s first imperial dynasty, from the brilliant marble capital rebuilt by Augustus to the dark forests of barbarians, and the crimes and treachery encompassing them all.

15th December


Paul Willetts on Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms

Paul Willetts, the chronicler of Soho and Fitzrovia, has dug up a spy story as unlikely but as true as Triple Cross, Ben Macintyres best-selling tale of Eddie Chapman. The protagonists include a White Russian Nazi spy and a US embassy code clerk who is also a Soviet agent.

Jonathan Fenby on The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day

Having spent over a decade as the Reuters bureau chief in Paris, Jonathan Fenby explores the tempestuous history of modern France in his new book The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day

Gyles Brandreth on Wordplay

Gyles Brandreth, the star performer of our Christmas lunch who would entertain if he read from Yellow Pages, reveals why he is such a star on Just a Minute: prepare for a  linguistic frenzy of palindromes, mnemonics, malapropos and acronyms.


12th January 2016


Jonathan Dimbleby on The Battle of the Atlantic

The presenter of Any Questions? will be talking about the battle that secured the Allied victory. Dimbleby shows how great struggles such at the Blitz and Stalingrad, as well as landmark events such as D-Day, could not have happened, let alone been victorious, without this battle which ran the course of the whole war.

Adam Sisman on John le Carré: The Biography

The acclaimed biographer of Hugh Trevor-Roper turns his hand to the mysterious John le Carré who co-operated fully with the research.  Five years in the making, Sisman reveals the background of the enigmatic character who gave such credibility to his spy stories because he too had been part of the circus'. 

Humphrey Burton on Menuhin: A Life

Humphrey Burton has spent his life directing and hosting operas and concerts, most famously presenting the BBC’s Young Musician series. In 2000, he wrote the life of world-renowned musician and humanist Yehudi Menuhin, who had been his close colleague. To mark Menuhin’s centenary, this biography has been republished with a new introduction about the prodigiously gifted ‘Miracle Boy.


8th March


Bel Mooney on Lifelines

Bel Mooney’s hugely popular Daily Mail advice column reaches six million people every week. Some of her compassionate and unflinchingly honest words of good counsel, which relate not only to the love, loss, break-ups and breakdowns of her readers, but also candidly draws on Bel’s own experiences, are gathered together here for the first time. This selection includes problems, responses and some of the wide-ranging mini essays that appear in the Mail as ‘And Finally’.

Andrew Lownie on Stalin's Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess 

Andrew Lownie, the biographer of John Buchan,  has written the first full biography of the most complex and compelling of the Cambridge Spies. Lownie follows Burgess’ journey through Eton, Cambridge, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, as he mercilessly betrayed the British Intelligence Service, with a beguiling smile. But then insisted on being buried in Hampshire.




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